Unanswered Prayers

When I was sixteen, like many teenagers, I knew everything. I was lucky enough to grow up with wonderful parents who cared about me and were very involved in my life.

But sometimes, since I knew everything, that involvement become annoying. Especially when it meant I wasn’t allowed to do something that I wanted to do.

There was a boy where I worked part-time who had (finally) asked me out on a date. He asked me to dinner and a movie at the beginning of the week, and we made plans for that Saturday, not knowing that the first big snow of the winter was coming on Friday night.

On Saturday afternoon, after being out on the roads in town, my dad informed me that I would not be going anywhere that evening. In dramatic fashion, I cried and begged him to change his mind.  How could he ask me to cancel my plans when I had been so excited about them all week? I was a careful driver and he knew that; didn’t he trust me? When he did not relent, I went to my mom. Mom was more sympathetic and let me at least voice my opinions and concerns about missing the date. After she and dad discussed it further, he gave in and let me go, though he made it very clear that he did not like the idea and talked to me extensively about driving slowly and how to handle it if I hit a patch of ice.

I was ecstatic. To this day, it is still the only time I can remember my dad changing his mind about allowing me to do something after he had already said no. Though he was loving and funny most of the time, he was a no-nonsense kind of guy when it came to safety.  (And to the idea of his little girl dating boys. It didn’t matter how much I tried to convince him that my current boyfriend was a ‘good guy’ – he still viewed him as an ant that needed to be squashed.) Whatever made him change his mind, I didn’t know and didn’t care…I was going on that date.

To be honest, I don’t remember details about the date. I assume we had a nice enough time, though I don’t think we ever went out on a second date. What I DO remember is the drive home.

I drove to the boy’s hometown to meet him there, as it would have been out of the way for him to come pick me up and then drive the hour it took to get to the restaurant. So, at the end of the night, I had a fifteen-minute drive home. It was around ten o’clock as I turned onto the blacktop road that would lead me back to my house. I drove slowly as I cruised up a little hill, but after I reached the top and continued down the hill, I naturally accelerated a little. I didn’t see the black ice even after I hit it. Vividly I remember the way my car began to swerve and I, despite the fact that I knew everything, slammed on the brake in panic. I skidded from one side of the road to the other and did a complete 360 before landing in a ditch.

Though I was totally shaken up, I was fine. And other than a few dents and scrapes, so was my car. Once I calmed down after the initial freak-out, my next thought was, my dad is gonna kill me. But much to my surprise, he was madder at himself for going against his instincts and letting me go than he was at me for wrecking my car.

Though I hadn’t thought about that accident in years, the memory came flooding back to me just a couple of nights ago, when my husband and I had to drive down that same road after another big snow, the first of the winter this time as well. I thought of my dad and what I would have done in his situation back then, now being a mom of two kids myself – one of which is now old enough to want to attempt new things that make me nervous all the time.

Sometimes, I let him – like when he wanted to try riding a bicycle. I could foresee the potential danger, but I also knew the wonderful experience it would be once he mastered it…something he will use for years to come. But sometimes, I have to tell him no. And there have been times that he has cried and begged and I have relented, only to watch him make a bad choice or get hurt.

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about prayer – both how powerful it can be, and how frustrating it can be when it seemingly goes unanswered. But with this story being brought back to mind, I’ve thought about it in connection with God, our Father, as well – the One who can foresee the potential danger in situations for His children in ways that we can’t. Like my sixteen-year-old self, sometimes I tend to think I know everything, including what is best for me. So when I ask God for something, knowing that Jesus promised us in the Bible that we will receive things if we ask in His name (Matthew 7:7-11), it frustrates me when I don’t get an immediate answer. After all, I’m not asking to win the lottery or anything unreasonable – I’m asking for things that I truly believe are in my family’s best interest. But I also know that God sees the big picture when I cannot. If He isn’t answering it yet, then now is not the right time. And I have to wrap my head around the fact that the right time may never come.

Jesus promised us that if we have even a little faith, we can do anything. We can move mountains (Matthew 17:20). We can walk on water (Matthew 14:22-33). But that doesn’t mean we will receive everything we ask Him for – our requests have to be in line with God’s plans for our lives.

Because unlike us – imperfect parents who make mistakes with our children from time to time – God will not make a mistake. And when I finally realized this, I had to learn to change my way of praying. It’s okay to ask Him for things that I think I need or even want…as long as I acknowledge that more than anything, I want His will for my life. Instead of asking for something and being frustrated when I don’t see a response, I am learning to ask Him to show me His way instead. So today, my prayer is not that He will give me everything that I think that I need, but that He will give me everything that He knows that I need, and the wisdom to align my requests with His plans.

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10 thoughts on “Unanswered Prayers

  1. You don’t get an answer because it likely doesn’t exist. Your prayer answering works the same way it would if you simply talked to the air. Sometimes you’d get what you wanted and other times you wouldn’t. No supernatural agency is needed to explain such things.

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    • Thank you for reading my blog entry, Godless Cranium. Believe it or not, there was a time when I would have agreed with your comment, though not out loud…even in the back of my mind, as I contemplated atheism, I still knew a higher power existed. I turned back to God almost as a last resort after going through some difficult things in my life – like many people do – but as I studied His word and asked Him for wisdom and guidance, He began to reveal Himself to me in so many ways until I fell in love with Him. And now, living in this time where I get to watch the prophecies unfold before my eyes, I don’t know how I ever doubted Him. Romans 14:11 assures us that “Every knee shall bow to Me, And every tongue shall confess to God,” which includes you, too. I’m so glad that He reached me before it was too late, and my prayer at this moment is that you will call out out to Him now and accept His perfect love and mercy.

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      • What makes you thin k your God is the right ‘higher power’ when there are literally thousands of Gods made up, some that predate your own Christian God?

        Of course it was during difficult times, because that’s when you’re the most vulnerable and susceptible to religious messages.

        There are no prophesies unfolding. And no I will never bow and scrape to an invisible entity. I did my fair share of that as a youth who believed in this God. It just took questioning and reading the bible for myself to break the spell.

        I know it may provide comfort to you to believe that everyone will bow, kneel, and lick the boots of this invisible magic being in the sky, but that’s just not reality. Billions have lived and died doing the same for previous Gods that came long before your God ever arrived on the scene.

        I hope that you’ll call out to reality and stop seeing spooks under every corner. There is much more happiness in being free from superstition and embracing that which is real.

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  2. Hello again, Godless Cranium. First of all, I would like to say that again, I once shared your mindset. As an English major, I studied mythology and had multiple professors present The Bible as “myth,” causing me to doubt the belief system I had been brought up in. I had been a young Christian, but after listening to these supposedly “educated” instructors, I turned my back on it, just as you did. We have more in common than you may think, in that area. Ironically, you said all it took was “questioning and reading the Bible” to “break the spell.” For me, that’s exactly what it took to restore my faith. And here’s why:

    I know that there are thousands of false, man-made gods out there. That’s because every human being has the deep-rooted desire within them to seek their Maker. And in this seeking, many, many people have gotten it wrong. So how do I know that I have it right? It’s simple. Even scientists agree and confirm that our universe was set into existence by what many call a “singularity event.” If the universe has a starting point for existence, it must have a cause for that existence, according to the Law of Cause and Effect. Even popular atheist Richard Dawkins admits that there could be something big out there, “beyond our present understanding.” Christians refer to that as God. If you study our planet and its precise placement in that universe, it’s easy to say that it was placed by design, not chance. After all, if the Earth was not in the exact position it’s in, of the exact size that it is, humans would not be capable of existence.

    As far as why I know that my God is THE GOD, it comes again from studying the Bible, which was written by various prophets, living in separate areas, over a span of thousands of years. In the Old Testament alone, there are near fifty prophecies that refer to Jesus and his crucifixion, all of which are fulfilled in the New Testament. Hundreds of other prophecies are scattered throughout the Old and New Testament, all of which have been fulfilled. As far as your idea that “there are no prophecies unfolding,” I invite you to read the book of Revelation and take a look at the things that are happening in the world today. Many of the prophecies for the end of times have already been fulfilled. And while you may not like the idea that you will “bow, kneel, and lick the boots” of God, I can assure you that you will – it is only another prophecy from the Bible that will be fulfilled.

    I am a person who likes facts. In the beginning of my budding faith, I needed those facts to come to acceptance. But as I have grown in my relationship with Him, He has provided me with joy and assurance that can’t be explained or taken away…something I never had until I knew Him. And knowing Him came with a transformation of my life and my soul. Anyone who knew me years ago can attest to this change in me. As a friend of mine once said, you cannot stay the same once you have belief in Him…it would be like continuing to read the morning newspaper after realizing your house is on fire. Knowledge of Him motivates action and changes your life.

    There is nothing I can do to be worthy of His love – Jesus Christ is the only answer for my sin. Through Him I have found life’s meaning. I pray that you will turn to Him and find His peace in your heart as well.

    Have a wonderful night, and thank you again for reading my blog post.

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  3. What other facts do you have to back up your belief?

    For example: Why do you believe the Bible is true? What evidence is there that the prophesies about Jesus were actually written years before he lived?

    Also, what prophesies are being fulfilled today?

    I’m not asking these questions to be argumentative; I’m asking because I have been searching for truth myself, but I am someone who needs evidence and proof. I cannot just go by blind faith alone. And to say “just read the Bible and you will find truth,” isn’t enough for me. I’ve tried reading it and so much of it makes no sense and does not lend itself to me finding faith in it.

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    • Hello, faithseeker12! Thank you for reading and commenting. I definitely understand the need to have facts to back up your beliefs. The Bible commends those who have faith without seeing, but I don’t believe that means my faith should be blind.

      I will do my best to answer your questions, though there are others out there who could do a better job, I’m sure. I have found in my research that archaeologists and historians have substantiated the historical accuracy of the Bible, confirming that the people and places and even festivals and events actually existed. Places and objects described in detail have been found with matching descriptions. Various historians…including non-believers…have confirmed the accounts in the gospels of Jesus’ birth, life, and crucifixion. The discoveries found in the Dead Sea Scrolls confirm that the Old Testament scriptures – containing prophecies of Jesus – date back before long before His existence.

      As far as prophecies of the end times, it appears that we are living in the times that Jesus warned of, which He referred to as “the beginning of sorrows”: false Christs deceive many, wars and rumors of wars, an increase in famines, earthquakes, and pestilences. These days are described as “perilous times” because of increasing evil. It also predicts that the word of God will be spread like never before because of our ability to “run to and fro” over the Earth. Any of that sound familiar? And it’s all leading up to what I believe is coming soon…Jesus’ return for His children. I intend to be ready and my reason for writing these blog posts is that I want everyone else to be ready, too!

      Thank you for asking questions. I hope I answered them. I understand having difficulty interpreting the Bible…I ask God for discernment every day before I begin my studies, and He always provides.

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  4. What about the things in the Bible that seem farfetched? Do you believe the Bible to be literal or are some of the stories just lessons to be learned? For example: do you believe there was a literal Adam and Eve and a garden? What about Noah and the ark? What about Jonah being swallowed by a whale? These stories seem outlandish to me and I cannot accept them as truth.

    Also, why do you suppose God waited so long to send Christ? If he’s omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent as we are to believe, then he would have known the ways of the Old testament wouldn’t have worked, so why set up mankind to fail?

    Another thing I have to ask: What is your stance on Hell?

    I know you don’t KNOW the answers and are just going on what you’ve learned and believe, but I look forward to your responses and I truly hope you can shed some light on these issues for me. You are a very intelligent woman and I respect your opinion and thoughts on the matter.

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    • Hello again, faithseeker12. You pose some difficult questions! I will do my best to answer, based on my own beliefs and what I’ve learned from my own studies.

      First of all, I will say that I have had similar doubts regarding the stories in the Bible in the past. But as I have grown in my faith, I have come to accept them as fact. There are stories in the Bible that are used simply to prove a point – Jesus used them all the time and referred to them as Parables, in the New Testament – but as far as the Old Testament stories, I believe them. Because first of all, when parables were being used, Jesus always made it clear that they were used to teach a lesson. In the Old Testament, the authors never refer any of the stories as parables or lessons to be learned. And yes, it does seem crazy when you think about a man being swallowed by a large fish and living there for three days. But is it any more crazy than the idea that God created our world out of nothing but His commands? The way I see it, my God can do anything. If He can create this intricate world, He can let a guy live in the belly of a fish in order to get his attention. I realized as I grew in my relationship with God that I would never understand everything – so many things in the Bible are beyond what my tiny brain can comprehend. And that’s okay. It’s not up to me to decide which parts of the Bible I believe are true and which seem too far-fetched; I choose to take it all as it is and accept it as God’s truth. Even in the very beginning, Satan was there in the Garden of Eden, whispering to Eve that she shouldn’t trust the things that God told her. And he’s still here today, whispering that same message in our ears as well. It didn’t work out for Eve to trust Satan – I know it won’t work out for me, either. I rebuke him when he tries to put doubts in my mind.

      And about the Adam and Eve story, and what you asked about God “setting us up to fail”…I have had this conversation with Him before in my prayers. Why didn’t God just make this world perfect and make all of us perfect, and then Jesus never would have had to sacrifice Himself and our world wouldn’t be in the condition that it’s in?? And the truth is, I can’t fully answer this. But here’s what I believe: I believe that God did intend for us to have a perfect relationship with Him. And I don’t believe that He placed evil in the world; but in His decision to create freewill, some choose to rebel. And yes, He knew that would happen, but He allowed it anyway. Why? I don’t know. Maybe because if everything was perfect, we would never fully learn to appreciate His love and His goodness. Maybe we would never seek Him and love Him like He desires us to do.

      As for your other question…my stance on hell…I go by what the Bible says. There are multiple verses where it is referred to as a fiery lake or an unquenchable fire, and since I choose to believe in the Bible in a literal sense, I believe it to be exactly what it says it will be. And I believe that those who reject God’s love and mercy will, unfortunately, live in torment there for all eternity. I also know that the Bible says that God does not desire this for any of His children, but gives us an infinite amount of chances to turn from our lives of sin and accept Jesus as our Lord. That is what I choose.

      Thank you for your questions and for trusting in me to try to shed some light on this for you. I know that “I don’t know” is not a satisfying answer and I’m sorry that at times, I had to say that, but I am being honest. Like I said, I’m sure there are others out there who have better answers to these questions than I do. But what I found, when I finally decided to stop letting my own thoughts and ideas get in the way of God’s message, was that every time I ask Him for wisdom and guidance, He provides it. It’s a daily challenge. I have to ask Him every single day to help me die to my own ways and accept His, to help me have more faith in Him and to push Satan’s doubts from my mind. But He hasn’t let me down yet, and has provided me with a deep joy and peace that I had never before experienced, even when things were going really well in my life.

      Keep asking questions, and keep seeking faith! I believe that God will provide answers for you if you just trust Him to do so.

      Thank you again for reading my blog posts and I hope to continue to hear from you!

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  5. Thank you Katy 🙂 I definitely have seen the hand of God in every single stage of my life. It is frustrating at times when you pray and you don’t get the answers that you want, but it’s exactly like having a good father watching out for you. My parents didn’t give me everything that I wanted, and I’m thankful for that now. Sometimes when you’re in the midst of life and you want what you want right then, it seems like God is against you or isn’t there. The older I am getting, the more I see his hand in everything- I’m so thankful. Thank you for your testimony of our Father’s love, well said!!

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    • Thank you, Katie! And thank you for stopping by to read my blog entry! I know exactly what you mean about how as you get older, you see His hand in everything. I have grown frustrated with what I thought were “unanswered” prayers at different stages in my life, but looking back at those things I thought I “needed” now, I can see that He knew best and I have to laugh at myself – how did I think I could see something that God couldn’t see? I am so thankful that He provides for us and helps us to grow in our trust and love for Him every day.

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